any duckling keeping advice welcome!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by caroline2912, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. caroline2912

    caroline2912 New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2014
    Hi, I'm about to bring home my first 2 aylesbury ducklings. I'm just looking for any advice anyone can give me? What they are most happy eating? Heat lamp info? Enclosure info? I have researched a lot of things but have found mixed answers so I've come here for your advice!!
    Thanks in advance, Caroline
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
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    This is a good read. Just note, it uses the Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks first edition information on the earliest you can restrict food with water from 24/7, but a number of us duck forum members have compared notes and we find that 6, more like 8 weeks or older is the first time we limit food with water at all for any of our ducks. Some of us just never do.

    Aside from that note, this thread is a really good one https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711

    Storey's Guide is a great resource and the more I read The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook by Kimberly Link, the more I like it.

    So, for your first set of questions,

    Please ask any and all questions on the forum. We love ducks and duck people.

    Mine were very happy with turkey-waterfowl starter crumbles the first two weeks, slowly mixing in more and more of a grower pellet, then over to layer pellets when they started laying.

    I gave mine tiny bits of chick grit and then started giving them some treats - small amounts of thawed frozen peas, and finely chopped lettuce floated in water. They still love these. A month or so ago I started sprouting wheat seeds and they love 'em.

    They need a balanced ration, and so many ducklings seem to have trouble getting enough niacin, I think a daily sprinkling of a tablespoon of niacin on their food is probably a good idea. Especially if it's chick starter.

    Rule of thumb is 90˚F the first week, dropping 5 degrees a week till the brooder is the same temperature as the rest of their world. With ducklings and ducks, there are always exceptions, so have a spot that is cooler in the brooder for those who need it cooler. I kept a non-mercury thermometer in the brooder so I could monitor as well as observe behavior.

    Enclosure - needs to be safe and secure. Babies need to be away from drafts and dangers. You will need to come up with a way to manage water. As waterfowl, ducklings have a special relationship with water, and it goes all over the place if you don't have a way to catch the splash. Restricting their water is not an option. They need it to drink and to wash their little heads in. The link above shows a head washer.

    For adult ducks, the enclosure needs to be safe and secure. The list of predators is long. There are daytime predators, and many nighttime predators. They come out of the woodwork once word gets out that there are ducks.

    I see tracks of critters I had never seen sign of since getting the ducks.

    Do not underestimate the ability of these predators to get to the ducks any way they can. Try not to lose sleep over it, but please do work out a way to keep the ducks safe. You will save yourself heartache.

    A final warning - ducks steal hearts. So quickly. [​IMG]
     
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